Daily Archives: April 19, 2012

East Bay Express was the first to report that the San Francisco Examiner is in talks to buy the San Francisco Bay Guardian. SF Weekly followed, and said it’s been told the Guardian “has been on the block for around two months at a price of $1 million.”

The San Francisco Chronicle asked Examiner publisher Todd Vogt about the sale reports and he wrote in an email: “It’s not true. Haven’t bought anything. I’m not even in The City. Though we would look at any publication that is for sale — which is just about every print product.”

The Examiner is owned by a group a Canadian investors who acquired the paper last November from conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz.

* Examiner closes in on purchase of Bay Guardian (East Bay Express)
* Examiner hasn’t bought the Guardian yet (SF Weekly)
* “Haven’t bought anything,” says Examiner publisher (SF Chronicle)

Frank Rich

Is editorial writing a lost art?

“Not at all, anymore than I think fiction is a lost art because no prize was awarded,” says Frank Rich. “This is a commentary on the Pulitzers, not on editorial writing or the American novel.” But then a Pulitzer-winning journalist, who asked not to be named, told Bill Lucey: “When did you last read an editorial that changed how you viewed the world? Editorial writing is a lost art. It requires extensive research and quality writing.”

* Has editorial writing become a lost art?

Here’s what Howard Stern said on his Sirius XM radio show about media coverage of his lawsuit against Sirius being tossed:

I was so aggravated with that lawsuit news. …I’m reading the newspaper articles — I’m arguing with the newspaper articles. I saw so many newscasters reporting this thing, so excited that I lost my lawsuit because they’re all jealous. They don’t like that I make a lot of money. They’re so stupid, because they don’t understand if they ever get into business where they’re in a contract, I’d be the first one to stand up for them because talent always get screwed over.

I have had contracts throughout my career with various broadcast companies, all of them screwed me out of my contract. Some of them I sue and some of them I don’t because it’s so expensive, and it always ends up going against talent. It’s the same thing I see where people sit in the stands at football games and go, ‘That guy makes too much fuckin’ money.’ I go, ‘No he doesn’t. The owners make too much fuckin’ money. They’re not risking their neck, they’re not going to be dead at 52.’

Stern said of New York Daily News’s David Hinckley:

You know, I’m going to compliment David Hinckley. I used to give him a hard time, but he’s the only guy who even writes about radio anymore. I was reading the ratings yesterday for radio. No one writes about radio anymore, but if he didn’t write about it I wouldn’t have known that WLIT — Lite Radio — now is the number one radio station. And that’s what got me thinking: I should go back to terrestrial radio. I think in a week I could have the number one radio show again. I don’t see anyone out there that can compete with me. I don’t. I’m here six years and nothing’s changed. Radio still fuckin’ sucks. No innovators. Nothing — nothing going on.

* Why it’s OK to tweet, “Who is Dick Clark?”
* Earlier: Meet the people on Twitter who didn’t know Titanic disaster was real

Four members of the Westboro Baptist Church will speak Monday to three Central Michigan University journalism classes taught by Prof. Timothy Boudreau.

“I try to bring [controversial speakers] in because students routinely claim to be great advocates of free speech,” the professor told me in a phone interview this afternoon. “This is a real test of their commitment to free expression.” (He had Pastor Terry Jones speak last semester.)

Timothy Boudreau

Boudreau, who also invited Westboro members speak in 2010, adds: “I think they’re way out there — they inhabit what I call the outer limits of the First Amendment — and I disagree with they say but I defend their right to say it.”

The group will be speaking to two sections of a Mass Communications in Contemporary Society class, and a Media Law class.

“A couple of student said they didn’t think the group deserved a forum or venue, and that they opposed them coming [to class]. I’ve given them the option of opting out and doing an alternate assignment.”

So far two students out of 150 have said they won’t attend.

His colleagues’ reaction to his Westboro speakers?

“The first time [they were invited] there may have been one or two or folks in the department who just questioned it. They weren’t opposed; they were just trying to figure it out. I don’t want to say I’m the resident rabble-rouser, but they know that this is what I do.”

What about protests?

“I was just talking with student newspaper editor about that. I haven’t heard much, but he thinks there will be some sort of protest. I’ve been asking my students, checking Facebook and that sort of thing, and the long and short of it is I’m not expecting a lot of noise.”

Campus security will be in his classes with the group speaks.

His thoughts on the group?

“Once they get off what I call their hate soapbox, they’re kind of normal people. They’re not unlikeable. It’s not as if they have horns and a tail.”

What’s the assignment?
“I don’t give them an actual assignment. I’ll give them a feedback sheet, then we’ll have what I call a debriefing session during Wednesday’s class.”

The school will not be paying the church members for their transportation or appearance, which will be live-streamed at 2 p.m. ET Monday by Central Michigan Life, the campus newspaper. (“The last time they insisted on paying for lunch with a couple of my students,” Boudreau told me. “They seem to have a lot of money.”)

* Westboro Baptist Church to return to Central Michigan University
* “I was lucky enough to see Westboro the first time” they were at CMU

Michael Westendorf, chairman and CEO of the University Center, Mich.-based Saginaw Valley Journal, sent this letter to Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton, and cc’d it to Romenesko.

Mr. Pexton,

In an article/blog post on Wednesday, Chris Cillizza writes, “A majority of people don’t know the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Chris Cillizza

More frightening? Eight percent named Thurgood Marshall, who not only was never the Chief Justice but also died in 1993. And let’s not even talk about the four percent who think Harry Reid, a Senator not a member of the Supreme Court, is the Chief Justice.”

While I agree that the statistics about average Americans not knowing basic facts about the Supreme Court are disheartening, it seems that Mr. Cillizza has fallen prey to a lapse in knowledge on the subject as well. John Roberts is not ‘Chief Justice of the Supreme Court’, he is chief justice of the United States. Similarly, Barack Obama is not ‘president of the Executive Branch.’

The title was officially changed by Congress in 1866 at the suggestion of the sixth Chief Justice, Salmon P. Chase. Mr. Chase wished to emphasize the Court’s role as a co-equal branch of government. (See: 28 U.S.C. § 1.) It is also clearly marked in every AP Stylebook that the title is chief justice of the United States.

There was no published e-mail address for Mr. Cillizza when I clicked on his name in order to contact him about this mistake. If you could see that he gets a copy of this message, I would appreciate it very much.


Michael Westendorf
Chairman & CEO
The Saginaw Valley Journal

He wants to run the New York Times.

Every one of Zach Protzko’s tweets — okay, he’s only tweeted four times since opening his Twitter account — are about his campaign to run the New York Times for at least a week. He also has an page that’s all about his Times campaign. Oh, there’s a Facebook page and a press release, too. Protzko says in his release:

If he gains the opportunity to work for the company, [Protzko] will hit the ground running with a set agenda. The agenda includes transitioning the Times to no longer relying on digital/print subscriptions, increasing revenue streams and production of branded content. He says if he is given the chance to effect change on a short-term basis then he would focus on increasing and personalizing user interaction, increasing advertisement, making proper use of the Social Media Network, as well as removing the existing paywall instead offering free online article viewing with registration.

Here’s the problem, Mr. Protzko: You’re a real estate investor and the newspaper industry hasn’t had much luck with people like you. You’ve heard of a guy named Sam Zell, right?

* Young N.C. real estate mogul wants to be New York Times CEO

Letter to Romenesko

From ANNE MIDGETTE, classical music critic, Washington Post: Your post about Aaron Barnhart struck a chord with me, because I encountered something similar when I went on maternity leave from October to January. During my almost-three-month absence, I had a lot of readers contact me and contact my editors to ask what had happened to me.

Anne Midgette

It’s an interesting question, in these days of increased transparency and social media, to ponder how open we should or are willing to be about our private lives. I did post about the baby on both Facebook and Twitter, which I use mainly in a professional capacity. But while I considered putting something up on my Washington Post blog, that blog is considered an extension of the paper and it didn’t seem quite appropriate to use it for a baby picture. Furthermore, I encounter a fair amount of hostility on my blog, and I didn’t necessarily feel like exposing my personal life to that element, particularly since our son is adopted. (The adoption went through with little advance notice, which is why I didn’t have a lot of time to plan with my editors how to present my absence to readers.)

One unintended consequence was that a rumor spread in my field that Placido Domingo had gotten me fired for something I wrote about him. This rumor made it all the way to my Wikipedia page, where it sat for a couple of months unchallenged until a friend sent it to me after I came back to work.

Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye he tweeted this morning: “Stop making fun of mayor, Sun says. Also, it runs cover of him in a KFC outfit.” Toronto’s news media are having fun with their Chris Christie-sized mayor’s videotaped visit to the chicken joint — after publicly declaring that he’s trying to lose weight. (The media are calling it – surprise! — “Chickengate.”)
* Toronto Star’s decision to publish video of mayor’s KFC visit generates emotional response, most of it negative
* Star story on mayor visiting KFC didn’t have “a lot of meat on the bones”
* “Who cares if the mayor is a tubby, addicted to cream puffs and malted milk shakes?”

Judith Miller

Judith Miller joins the New York Post in criticizing Pulitzer jurors for giving the investigative journalism prize to the Associated Press. She says the AP’s series on the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims is “manufactured news that played to left-wing stereotypes about police and law enforcement excesses.” She continues:

The subtext was that the NYPD’s monitoring was illegal, unconstitutional, and unnecessary—an infringement on Muslims’ civil rights and an outrageous example of religious and ethnic profiling.

But the series itself failed to document such illegality or over-the-top conduct. Moreover, the department’s assertions that its surveillance efforts were legal and its explanations about how the program worked were invariably given short shrift, buried in the AP’s flurries of unsupported allegations.

I asked AP spokesman Paul Colford if he wanted to respond. He sent this email:

This is a great week for AP and our four journalists who won a Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting. We’re all proud of them and their editors for bringing such important findings to the surface. And I encourage all who read comments about our NYPD series, whether critical or complimentary, to review the stories at

Meanwhile, sports journalist Ed Sherman points out “it was the same old story this week for the press box gang. Another year of being bypassed by the Pulitzers.”

George Dohrmann of St. Paul Pioneer Press was the last individual sportwriter winner in 2000 …[and] it’s been 22 years since a sport columnist has claimed a Pulitzer.

* Judith Miller: Pulitzers for nothing
* Ed Sherman: Sports journalists are snubbed again